Today I was on Facebook and that stupid little status update bar thingy says “share how your day went…” Well, Facebook thanks for asking my day was super shitty. But that’s not what the people on Facebook want to hear. My friends on Facebook want to hear that I am great. They want to hear that school is a breeze, that my friends are amazing and they guy who I will spend the rest of my life with is right around the corner. They don’t want to hear that my day, no correct that my past few weeks have been increasingly shitty. But we don’t share that with the wonderful people on our Facebook feed, of and why is that I’ll tell you it’s because it’s not easy. It’s not easy to say hey I am struggling and life is really hard and I feel super overwhelmed and out of my element. No, we have been taught that it is socially acceptable to reply with my day has been fine and yours? Like polite and socially gracious humans, but those social graces don’t stop at Facebook which is filled with people you barely know and weird relatives that you avoid at holidays. No, we continue these similar mannerisms into everyday conversations that we have with people who we even love and trust because telling them that we are fine is simply the nicer and better option. It saves us from having hard conversations and showing people that we aren’t nearly as fine as we let them believe that we are. We don’t stop the person who we are passing in the street that asked us how we are and go you know what I’m having a really shitty day and life is hard and I’m not dealing with it well. We smile and say I’m great, how are you? Why is it that we do this? Well, I’ll tell you why we do this because it is so much easier. We don’t think of it as lying we make excuses. Well I’m really busy and I have to get someone where so I can’t have this conversation right now, or well they don’t really want to know how I’m doing they are just being polite or 1,000 other excuses that come to our minds when faced with the decision of am I honest or do I tell a small white lie that I can’t see hurting anyone. How wrong we are to assume that no one gets hurt when you tell that little white lie, you get hurt when you tell that little white lie. You are denying yourself the chance, to be honest with someone and let them level with you and share your pain with them in a way that they might be able to help with your burden and lean on them. In the words of lean on me “please swallow your pride”, don’t be afraid to take that step back and go, man, I need help and I need someone to lean on because I am overwhelmed and out of my element. I’ve talked about this before but I’ll say it again, I am really good at hiding in plain sight. I am really good about letting people think that they know me when in reality they are only seeing the parts of myself that I am comfortable letting them see. It is easy for me to sit here and write these posts because almost no one that reads this knows who I really am and what is actually happening. It is easier to be honest when you don’t have to sit across from someone and watch them or hear them when you tell them how much you are struggling and just how overwhelmed you feel in your struggles. But struggles are never meant to be easy, they were also never meant to be tackled alone. That’s why people push us to find community, friends who you can lean on in times when you feel overwhelmed. These people who can support you and love you through no matter what is going on in your life. The only way that community works though is if you are honest with those around you. Again not something that I am good at. This summer I worked at a camp for 10 weeks and I had to be way more honest than I have ever been in my life and it was one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do. It was hard for a couple reasons: I had to tell people that I have known for a while that they don’t actually know me/I’ve been lying to them and I had to let people see me vulnerable. I don’t let people see me this way because I have such a fear that once people see how truly dark and twisty I am on the inside they will run for the hills, I’m still not convinced that people won’t. I hold back in relationships and don’t let people really love me the way that I deserve to be loved because I am so scared that they will realize just how scared and damaged I am and decide that I am simply too much. Honesty is my worst nightmare because honesty requires me to be vulnerable and reopen old wounds that I have long since closed or at least pretend that they don’t exist anymore. Let me let you in on a little secret, no matter how hard you try and fight those old wounds unless you have people to lean on they will overwhelm you and eat you alive. We have community because they are the people that we trust to speak life and truth to us so that we aren’t overwhelmed by old wounds. A friend once told me about my scars that “each time we open one, it heals a little better than before…today’s battles prepare us for tomorrow’s war.” He wasn’t wrong. Every time you let someone in and show them the hurt they help you to move past it and take away some of the power that it used to hold over you. The thing about scars that people don’t realize is that it shows where you’ve come from and what you’ve survived. Wear your scars with pride and let people see you shine through them. Don’t let them dim your light. The hardest thing for me about honesty is that too many times I have had my honesty and vulnerability twisted back on me and used as a weapon against me. This makes me put up walls faster than anything else. And once you’ve used that vulnerability against me, there is little to no chance that I will ever share anything with you ever again. Here’s the thing about it, just because one person twists that doesn’t mean that everyone you are honest with and vulnerable with will make the same choices. Believe me, I know it’s hard and it’s still not something that I am particularly good at. It is worth it in the end, but you will have times when you question why it is even worth it and why anyone would ever bother being honest in the first place. The important thing to remember is honesty breeds trust and trust builds relationships that you will soon be able to lean on and depend on. You’ll always regret those who you wished you hadn’t shared with because of the few who took your vulnerability and turned it into something ugly.
A Regular Girl